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Gama juggles slots for Qatar World Cup ops
The prospect of the upcoming World Cup presents both opportunities and challenges to business jets travelling to the tournament. Tom Murphy explains how Gama Aviation is managing parking demand in Doha.
The Sharjah terminal awaits World Cup fans.

"Due to a number of requirements implemented in Qatar, business jet operators should ensure that they are fully up to speed with the challenges," says Gama's head of FBOs Tom Murphy. "For example, there are hefty fees in place for slot bookings and penalties for slot violations. Aircraft are also restricted to time on the ground in Doha not exceeding one hour. This had initially presented us with some doubt on there being significant business jet demand during the period.

"What we have seen over the last few months is an increased level of demand from operators looking for parking solutions in the GCC area, outside of Qatar. Our FBO at Sharjah International is now receiving bookings on a regular basis, as is our charter department, which is working on numerous enquiries."

With parking space and slots likely to be in short supply during the tournament, Gama Aviation’s FBO in Sharjah, located in close proximity to Downtown Dubai and the Northern Emirates, is running a special promotion; free parking to operators and business jet owners travelling for the purpose of the World Cup tournament.

Murphy continues: “Operators are actively looking for solutions and locations to base their aircraft during the tournament. At our FBO in Sharjah we will be offering seven days free parking after every arrival. Parking fees will only be incurred on day eight, and if an aircraft returns for a second time during the tournament their next seven days will be waived. There is a limit to how many aircraft we can offer this incentive to, so this promotion will be available on a first come first served basis throughout the duration of the event, specifically for World Cup travellers.”

Gama Aviation has already received a large volume of interest from operators and encourages clients to receive a handling confirmation from the Sharjah FBO, and an additional confirmation of the free parking, to avoid disappointment.

While not yet confirmed, the company is also working on collaboration with commercial handling agents in Sharjah.

"We understand that private jet owners may travel to the UAE on their aircraft, and then elect to reach Doha via a commercial carrier. We are therefore engaging with handling agents at Sharjah International Airport with the objective of offering check in and transfer from our FBO for such scenarios. We want to cover all bases for our customers, offering the VIP service they’re accustomed to,” he says.

The incentive will be further complemented with direct vehicle access, hangarage and line maintenance.

“A major USP in Sharjah is that upon arrival, customers' vehicles can be waiting for them on stand, so after a six minute taxi time they can almost immediately be on the road to their end destination. We provide line maintenance across a number of types such as the Bombardier Global series, Gulfstream G650, Bombardier Challenger 604/605, as well as being a Textron Approved Service Facility, giving peace of mind to crew and passengers alike, knowing that their aircraft are in safe and responsible hands," he adds.

“We look forward to seeing the results of offering these incentives in Sharjah; we feel the reduced operating costs at a zero-slot restricted airport is a strong proposition for anybody planning on visiting the region.”

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